This is kind of surprising to some people, but there’s actually a big number of bloggers who write their content in English, yet they are not natives. However, despite this fact they can still get published on top blogs online, and even get nice book deals.
How is that possible and what can a new, aspiring blogger from a foreign country do to join the team? Here’s my set of 4 pieces of advice on the topic.
And how do I know? Well, I’m not a native either. Hi, I’m Karol, from Poland.
0. Learn English
This advice is so basic that I didn’t even give it a real number, but I want to keep this guide complete, so I decided to include it anyway.
This is fundamental … come on, you need to improve your English skills constantly if you want to make it in this space. Period.
1. Read like hell
Excuse the language, but I really want to emphasize this. Learning English and actually using English are two completely different things.
If you live in an English speaking country then it’s much easier for you because you can practice your language skills every day. But if you don’t, you need to look for other ways, and reading is the best way possible.
Besides, reading is great for many more reasons than just practicing your English skills, and I’m sure I don’t need to explain why…
What to read, then?
It’s best if you read articles and books in your field of expertise (your niche). That way you’ll learn the specific language people use. There are always some peculiar words and phrases that are common to a given environment. When you master them, you’ll sound more like a native.
For instance, for the blogging niche, some of those words and phrases are: blogosphere, quality content, guest blogging, freelance writing, monetization, all WordPress-related terms, and so on.
When it comes to books, I think it’s best to get them from Amazon. If you have a Kindle then you can get any publication within minutes. If you’re not a big fan of e-book readers then you can still order a paperback, and Amazon will deliver it to any part of the world.
2. Proofread and Edit Heavily
Let’s face it, as a non-native blogger you will make some grammatical/style errors. And you don’t want to send out an article containing those errors. This makes you look really unprofessional.
However, at the same time I’m amazed at how many bloggers don’t proofread their work at all. It’s really easy to tell. Some errors are easy to make while writing, but at the same time they’re just as easy to notice while proofreading.
I have no intention of being a Grammar Nazi, but you really have to get your things together and proofread the hell out of your writing. Correct grammar is the first proof of your professionalism. This is ALWAYS the first thing your client notices when they read your work.
If your grammar is incorrect, you might even lose the client, and I’m serious.
If you’re using WordPress, you can get some help from a plugin called After the Deadline. It’s an advanced proofreading script that goes through your work and suggests possible improvements. It’s not only a typo-correction tool, this one can actually be of some serious help.
3. Use productivity tools
In most cases, the challenges non-native bloggers have to face are quite similar to those their native competitors are facing.
For instance, one of the main challenges in the writing world is productivity.
And by productivity I mean things like finding motivation to work, managing your time, knowing what to do next, managing your tasks, and so on.
Because the topic of productivity is so wide, I won’t give you any detailed advice here. I’m just going to point you towards some tools and methods that will make things easier:
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. A great methodology for managing your time and work. I’m using it for quite a while now and I find it simply perfect.
- Remember The Milk. A tool for all kinds of to-do list management. Cool features, keyboard shortcuts, and other things that make working with it quick and pleasant.
- FreeMind. Great mind mapping app. Free, easy to use, and provides every feature you need for effective mind mapping.
- Google Calendar. This one you probably know, but I still want to remind you about it.
- Dropbox. Get access to your work from every computer with internet access. Also, you don’t have to worry about your laptop crashing someday…
4. Set Rates Based on Quality
My final piece of advice is about your rates and the quality of work you’re producing.
If you’ve been in the market for longer then a month then you probably know that there are people offering 500 word articles for $5 each, or even bundles of hundreds of articles for as little as $10.
This is not your competition.
Your competition consists of all the native bloggers who provide quality work and in return ask for quality money.
Now, about your rates. Don’t try to be a bargain just for the sake of it. You should always set rates that are comfortable for you. Don’t settle for anything less than that.
Here’s a method you can use to set your rates:
- Start by setting an hourly rate you’re comfortable with.
- Estimate how long it takes you to write, edit, and proofread one article of 1000 words.
- Divide these 1000 words by the number of hours.
- Take your desired hourly rate and divide it by the number from the previous step.
- What you end up with is your preferred rate per word.
I hope this set of 4 (actually it’s 5) pieces of advice will help you to handle some of the issues non-native English bloggers have to face.
Also, feel free to let me know what you’re doing to improve and be more successful as a blogger.
About the author: Karol K. is a freelance blogger and writer. He’s passionate about online business, building an online presence, and other related topics. If you want to learn a thing or two on what guest posting is visit him at YoungPrePro.